Senate President Calls for Greater Support from Private Sector in Plastic Ban

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Senate President, Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson (centre), receives a tote bag from Government Senator, Don Wehby (left), following the sitting of the Senate on June 8. The day is being observed as World Oceans Day. At right is State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr.

Senate President, Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson, is calling for greater involvement from the private sector in the banning of single-use plastic bags, commonly referred to as scandal bags.

Issuing the call in the Senate on June 8, in observance of World Oceans Day, Mr. Tavares-Finson said the matter is “in (the) the national interest of the country “ and challenged the private sector to play its part.

“We can’t continue to be giving people three and four plastic bags. It’s not in the interest of the country or the supermarkets either,” the Senate President emphasised.

“The Government has indicated its intention to take some steps in the banning of plastic bags, but you would have thought the manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers would take some interest in maintaining the country in which they live in,” he added.

Mr. Tavares-Finson pledged to use a tote bag to carry groceries when visiting supermarkets.

Government Senator, Don Wehby, in his remarks agreed with the President that the “private sector must play their part”.

He insisted that the Hi-Lo supermarket, which belongs to the GraceKennedy Group, for which he is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), does use tote bags for carrying groceries.

“The supermarket I am involved in uses recycling bags, and it has been a tremendous success. The private sector should be more proactive, and some of us are doing something,” he said.

Government Senator, Matthew Samuda, who informed that eight million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans annually, wants the intended ban on plastic by the Government to extend to straws and other microplastics.

He encouraged more Jamaicans to care for their environment.

Opposition Senator, Sophia Frazer-Binns, wants to see continued consultation with stakeholders on the plastic ban, as well as a “constant public education (programme),” in an effort to change the culture of people.

In his message, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, said his organisation is aiming to lead by example “to end the use of single-use plastic”.

“You can make a difference today – and every day – by doing simple things like carrying your own water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags, recycling the plastic you buy, avoiding products that contain microplastics and volunteering for a local clean-up,” he said.

Observed under the theme ‘Preventing Plastic Pollution and Encouraging Solutions for a Healthy Ocean’, World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.

JIS Social